To kick off our discussion of lead nurturing, let’s start with defining the term.
DemandGen’s Definition of Lead Nurturing
The process of engaging prospects
by providing the information and dialogue they need
at each stage of their buying process
to position your company as the best choice
to help them achieve their objectives.
Let’s look more deeply at the key points of this definition.
Just sending a lot of emails to your prospects is not “engagement.” When we talk about “engaging,” it’s important to realize that we’re talking about two-way communication. Take two minutes to watch this humorous video to drive the point home.
So engaging your prospect involves not only what you communicate to them, but what they communicate to you through their behavior: their digital body language. You need to take into account the feedback you receive from prospects, both explicit and implicit, and adapt your communications accordingly, in order to successfully engage them and keep your company top-of-mind during their buying process.
Engagement means a dialogue, not a speech; it means communication that has value for both parties, so that both parties have an interest in continuing to communicate.
Each stage of the buying process
Unless your product is an impulse buy, your prospect goes through a multi-stage process in making the purchase decision. Remember, the prospect’s BUYING process is not the same as your SELLING process! Typically, the buying process looks like this:
What are the points within the buying process at which your prospects can be helped by receiving information from you? It may seem obvious: Step #2. But in reality, your prospects can probably benefit from receiving relevant information before and after every stage of the buying process. . .including the first and last stages. The key word here is relevant. For your particular product or service, you need to define exactly what kind of information is relevant at each stage (we’ll discuss that issue later in this series).
Most companies have more than one product, and more than one kind of customer. And, for most companies, these stages aren’t nice clean little boxes: they are multi-step mini-processes in themselves. So it’s important to take some time to sketch out the buying process (or processes) for the specific prospect type and specific product/service for which you are designing a lead nurture.
Helping prospects to achieve their objectives
Why do prospects become customers? Ultimately, it’s because they decide your solution will help them achieve their objectives. They believe that yours is the best choice, for whatever reasons, to solve their problem.
The point here is that lead nurturing needs to be about THEM, and not about you. Too often we see nurtures that are completely focused on product features: the “what” rather than the “why.” Of course features are important, but nurturing is as much about feelings as about facts. Start from the perspective of why the prospect should care about your product rather than what the product does.
It’s a process
The first two words of the lead nurturing definition are perhaps the most important: “The process.”
Lead nurturing is an ongoing, continual process. It’s not a one-shot deal, and every nurture is unique. Good nurtures are the opposite of shotgun-style marketing; they are carefully constructed with a variety of facets to gently but firmly drive prospects to a very clearly defined goal.
Next week, we’ll take a look at the essentials of lead nurturing and how to get started with the basics.